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Di Resta hails car, not driver, after Vettel title

If he’d been at the wheel of a Red Bull in 2011, Paul di Resta is sure he would be world champion now.

The Scot made an impressive grand prix debut with Force India this season and is expected to stay with the Silverstone based team in 2012, with an announcement due this week.

As teammates in 2006, di Resta – who is actually older than Sebastian Vettel – beat the 24-year-old German to the F3 Euroseries title.

“We had the same car, same engine, same tyres and I beat him,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I don’t want to diminish Vettel’s achievement (in 2011), but he won the championship because he had the best car.  He did his job, but another driver in the same car would probably have achieved the same results.

“I hope one day to have the same opportunity.”

Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber, of course, did have that opportunity in 2011.

The Australian has been retained for 2012 and he told the Daily Mail last week that he hopes Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko decides to prolong his tenure “a bit longer” beyond next year.

“I think not winning the championship last year knocked him about a little bit,” Webber’s father Alan told the Tasmanian newspaper The Mercury.

Vettel, however, sounds more worried about his rivals at McLaren.

“McLaren were very strong at the end of the year.  It will not be a walk in the park next season,” he is quoted by The Sun.